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Becoming a Big Sister/Brother: Stories to Share

Pregnant women with big brother

Welcoming a new baby to the family is a big transition—even more so when your new addition makes your toddler a big sister or big brother.

Sharing stories about new babies can be a great way to help your first child understand what’s happening and what’s to come. Use these classic children’s books to talk about becoming a “big sib” in the months before (and after!) baby is born.

A Baby’s on the Way!

What to say: We are going to have a baby brother or sister. There is a new baby growing in Mommy’s belly. Our new baby will be part of our family [insert a milestone your child will understand—“after Halloween” or “when it gets hot out and we are wearing shorts” or “when the leaves start to turn red”].

  • Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller—provides simple, matter-of-fact explanations of what it means to prepare for a new sibling’s arrival.
  • There’s Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham—explores the questions, concerns, and strong feelings a toddler might have in knowing a new baby is coming.
  • When the World Was Waiting for You by Gillian Shields—though the text of this board book is directed to the new baby, it uses simple language to describe all the preparations that go into welcoming a new member of the family.

What to Expect When Mom’s Expecting

What to say: The baby is growing inside Mommy’s belly. That’s why my belly is getting bigger and bigger! When the baby is ready to join our family, Mommy will go to see the doctor at the hospital. I’ll stay there for two days. You can visit me! You will stay with Grandma and Grandpa. When I come home, I’ll bring our new baby.

  • What’s In There?: All About You Before You Were Born by Robie H. Harris and Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul—offer simple, fact-based information about prenatal development for young children. Since there’s a lot of text, more for preschoolers than toddlers, parents may need to simplify as they read.
  • Mama’s Belly by Kate Hosford—provides an accurate picture of what it’s like to be a toddler whose mother is expecting (sometimes she is tired, or has aches and pains and can’t play).

What Will It Be Like to Have a Baby in the House?

What to say: Some things will change when there is a new baby in the family. Sometimes I will have to take care of the baby, like change their diaper, or feed them, or put them down for a nap. Sometimes the baby will do something funny, like make silly faces. Sometimes you will have a special job as a big brother/sister to give your baby a kiss or show them your favorite toy.

  • My New Baby by Rachel Fuller—provides very simple language to describe everyday life after a new baby comes home, from a toddler’s perspective.
  • I’m a Big Sister/I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole—offers examples of ways that babies are the same and different from “big kids” and reinforces the message that older siblings are still special to their parents.
  • Big Brother Daniel by Angela C. Santomero—uses simple language to describe how Daniel Tiger helps with the new baby in his house.
  • The New Baby by Mercer Mayer and The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby by Stan and Jan Berenstain—both thoughtfully deal with the feelings and adjustments older siblings go through when they welcome a new sibling.

The Fun Stuff

What to say: You are a big brother/sister. That is a pretty amazing thing to be. Even though our baby can’t play with you yet, he/she loves you very much. There is so much that the two of you can do together, once our baby gets a little bigger.

  • Henry Helps with the Baby by Beth Bracken and Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn—discusses all the ways that “big kids” can help with their new siblings, while gently addressing sibling conflict.
  • Splat and the New Baby by Rob Scotton—in simple, engaging language and illustrations, talks about how Splat the Cat helps with preparations to welcome his new sibling to the world.
  • What Brothers Do Best/What Sisters Do Best by Laura Numeroff—describes the different activities that older siblings can share with their younger siblings.
  • How to Be a Baby…By Me, the Big Sister by Sally Lloyd Jones—offers the perspective of an older sibling on all the things a “big kid” can do (compared to what a baby can do).

The Not-So-Fun Stuff

What to Say: Sometimes it’s hard to have a new baby. It’s okay if sometimes you feel frustrated or angry with the baby, or upset with Mommy and Daddy. We are always here for you. And no matter what – we love you very, very much.

  • Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats—this classic story explores Peter’s feelings about giving his baby chair to his new sister.
  • Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes—shares Lily’s feelings about her “disgusting” baby brother, Julius; that is, until her cousin criticizes him. That’s when Lily has a change of heart.
  • Raisin, the Littlest Cow by Miriam Busch—introduces us to Raisin, who loves being the littlest cow in the herd and getting lots of attention. Adjusting to an even littler younger sibling is not easy!
  • The New Small Person by Lauren Child—discusses the different ways that a baby can cause lots of trouble (like knocking over toys!) and how older siblings can learn to cope and even enjoy “the new small person.”

We Will Always Love You!

What to Say: We love our new baby, and we still love you very, very much too. Nothing will ever change how much we love you!

  • You Were the First by Patricia MacLauchlan—describes all the special “firsts” that come with being an older sibling.
  • You’re All My Favorites by Sam McBratney—introduces us to three bears who worry that their parents can’t possibly love them all the same, but ends with a sweet message that shows how very much each little one is loved by their parents.
  • The I Love You Book by Todd Parr—while not specifically about a new sibling, this board book highlights all the ways that parents love their children and can help big kids remember that they will always hold a very special place in their parents’ hearts.


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